Preparing to Paint Edith Kramer – That’s too much paint!

“Use little paint! Use less paint than you think.”

Is the mantra I have been repeating to myself while learning to paint Edith Kramer. Wax has inherent translucent properties that are crucial to its effectiveness in realistic representations in models. Therefore, during this stage, I had to work hard to add depth and life to Kramer, without losing this unique feature.

Wade Waxworks offered me the opportunity to first practise painting on wax. There, I made the most amateur mistake possible – I painted with too much paint (see below.)

My second attempt was more successful. The key to painting on wax is to dry brush oil paint onto the surface, taking the time to slowly build up the layers so that the translucency is not lost. There are also certain colours that are almost always used:

– Cadmium red (with a little violet if necessary for darker areas). Commonly used for ear areas.

– Flesh or Pale Rose Blush

– Buff titanium

– Burnt umber (great for freckles!)

– Olive green

– Naples yellow (for highlighting)

I have also looked at portrait painting on the traditional canvas, which has helped me understand how colour can insinuate anatomy. For instance, you can use highlights to ‘pick up structures’ but these must end once the latter does. Also, colours such as ‘cadmiums with black/cobalt blue/ultramarine and umber make good shadows.’ Areas of the face where there is thicker flesh are often painted with warmer colours, while where the bone is closer to the skin, cooler. Lastly, green undertones are more common on the face than I thought!

Before moving onto the final painting, I also practised on extra casts. During this stage, I have noticed that the paint started to crumble on top of the surface. Please see below photo for an example of the crumbling when I first painted at Wade Waxworks. I believe this crumbling on my casts can be due to several reasons:

  1. The surface of the cast is not clean enough.
  2. The surface of the cast is too shiny, which prevents the paint from properly adhering.
  3. The oil paints are reacting with the brushes.
  4. Too much paint!

The first point prompted me to look into conservation of wax, which gave me some tips on preparing a wax surface. Murrel, V. points out that due to the inherent ‘waxiness’ of the material, it tends to get dirty. (1971, pg. 97). Often, conservation workers in museums use aqueous washing composed of ‘distilled water with 2% Lissapol’ which is ‘brushed over the surface with a soft sable’ (1971, pg. 100). I will follow this process on the final cast before painting, allowing the surface to dry completely beforehand.

Additionally, I altered the surface of the cast through additional carving and brushing, in order to reduce the shine and help the paint adhere better. I filled any holes left by the casting process, paying attention to the temperature of the wax I used as filling – Murrel notes how ‘all tools used in cutting and finishing wax should be warmed’ (1971, pg. 102) but not too much, as there can be a colour difference in heated and colder wax.

I will also try sable brushes instead of synthetic ones.

I believe these points combined will result in a better paint finish on my model, which I will review in my last blog post at the end of the project.


Casting Edith Kramer – The Mystery of Wax

Before this project, I have only done casting in wax on a very small scale. This was going to be a great opportunity to explore this material in a different manner. I was ready to experiment!

Main stages of experimentation:

  1. Choice of wax
  2. Tint of wax
  3. Process of heating wax
  4. Process of pouring wax
  5. Cleaning up of casts

Choice of wax

One of the first things I considered, was the type of wax I wanted to choose for the model. Both Madame Tussaud’s and Wade Waxworks use a predominantly beeswax product, similar to these waxes sold by the British Wax Refining Company. As they produce waxwork models on a large scale, using these companies makes sense as they ship products in bulk with deals the larger the amount.

However, for my project, it would not be feasible for me to buy this type of product as I would not use the whole batch, therefore would not be a professional choice in terms of financial management of the project. The minimum I could order was 5kg, which would add up to £65.20 without shipping costs.

It was after reading Murrel, V. (1971) Some Aspects of Conservation of Wax Models that I made the choice to mix my own wax blend instead. In their study, they investigated various historical written and physical work on wax to divulge the type of wax that was used for figure casting throughout history.

‘the majority of finished wax sculptures were made with beeswax, probably bleached, with no additions apart from pigments and inerts.’

Murrel, V., 1971, pg. 96

‘one third of their bulk – of white lead and, apart from its obvious inclusion as a colourant, it may have been used to alter the property of the wax, reducing shrinkage and making it harder and thus more easily carved.’

Murrel, V., 1971, pg. 97

It is no wonder artists throughout history preferred beeswax as their main type of wax – as described in previous blog post, it has a vast past and narrative, combined with great malleable and translucent properties. Therefore, I decided this would be the best type to use for my model, particularly the bleached kind as I could then manipulate the colour far more easily. I ordered these in 1oz blocks, as I could control the amount I needed and work within the budget of the project.

Additionally, it is also important to note that Murrel (1971) found that artists often mixed their beeswax with other products. This is due to the inherent properties of beeswax, which are advantageous to the look of the models, but do carry limitations during the moulding process. Murrel (1971, pg. 97) notes that beeswax ‘contracts considerably when setting’ which results in a ‘soft and rather blurred impression’ in the cast. Due to this, I also chose to mix the beeswax with a more durable kind of wax – paraffin.

I experimented with the quantities of each wax, starting with just a purely paraffin wax cast. This was not only my clear-out cast of the mould, but also displayed the far decreased malleable properties of this wax, as it took a very rudimental cast with layers of the wax visible on the surface. This is partly because paraffin wax seemed to cool much faster than beeswax.

Mix of bleached beeswax and paraffin pellets melting in the bain-marie. A food thermometer was used to keep the wax at a safe temperature.

The latter experimentation stage was composed of a primarily beeswax mix with small amounts of paraffin wax. Below are some of my more notable mixes:

6x beeswax 1x paraffin (1x paraffin extra inside layer)6oz/170g 50g 50gNot enough wax for a durable mould
6x beeswax 2x paraffin (2x paraffin extra inside layer)6oz/170g 100g 100gThe mix did not pick up enough surface details. The layers of wax very visible on surface
7x beeswax ½x paraffin (2x paraffin extra inside layer)7oz/198g 25g 100gEnough for the whole cast. Good surface detail. Good translucency. Malleable surface. Durable cast due to under layer of paraffin wax.

The third mix on the list was the most successful of the lot, which I used for the final cast.

Tint of wax

A massive advantage of buying the wax in bulk, would have been that the wax was already tinted to a Caucasian skin tone widely used by the Madame Tussaud and Wade Waxworks workshops. However, as I chose to mix my own wax, I also experimented widely with the skin tone of my wax.

Although Murrel (1971) does not provide much guidance on this, I called Mike from Wade Waxworks to ask for advice on how to best do this. He advised using oil paints melted with a little bit of wax, which I amended by letting the mix cool completely and then flaking off controlled amounts into my wax. This ensured I could effectively manage how much of which colour I was adding to each cast and adjusting gradually to reach the best tint.

Edith Kramer.

Throughout the process, I was using the above image of Edith Kramer, and this model made by Wade Waxworks as benchmarks for the colour of the skin. Using an already made model helped me judge how the surface painting would show on specific wax tints.

Lastly, I also added another dimension to my casts, but using two main tints of wax – the top layers were more of a yellow-cream tint, while an under layer brought sub-surface scattering to the model through a more pinkish tint. Most importantly, the under layer was also composed almost entirely of paraffin wax, which made the cast more durable without affecting the quality of the surface.

Casting set-up in my kitchen! Health and safety hazards were reviewed beforehand, and all areas protected from any possible spills.

Process of heating up and pouring the wax

While working on the appropriate mix and tint of the wax, I was also paying attention to the way the materials are treated during the process. The wax must be kept below 75C during the heating process, which I controlled through a food thermometer. Bubbles can form in the wax if it reaches boiling point. This was a safety choice as well as below this temperature, the wax will not cause burns to the skin if an accident occurs.

Pouring the wax was also an issue. I did not have a melting pot to heat up the wax, which I replaced with a bain-marie. I had to take the wax away from the heat source to pour it, which would cause it to cool. I could not pour the wax once it reached a certain viscosity without risking the quality of the sculpt. At the same time, working too quickly meant the wax became disturbed and bubbles formed and showed up on the surface of the casts.

Mike from Wade Waxworks suggested using a funnel to pour the wax. I also reached out to others on social media, from which I was advised to heat the wax to a higher temperature in order to manage these air bubbles.

A combination of both these techniques worked. I heated the wax to 80C for the first pour, and ensured it was barely disturbed as I poured it in. Later layers were at a lower temperature. This ensured a cleaner surface quality.

Overall, this process was formed an a basis of prior experience, research, experimentation, and above all, contact with other professionals. Similarly as with the sculpting stage, I believe speaking with others continually changed my perspective and encouraged me to approach my work with curiosity. This helped me to achieve a good quality benchmark.

Check out a time lapse of my casting process on my Instagram here!

Some of the outcomes of my casting process.

Moulding of the Edith Kramer Sculpt – Did it go to plan?

Was the sculpt dropped by accident?
No, she has just gone through the moulding process!

After sculpting Edith Kramer, it was time to mould her to create a negative copy that I could use to replicate it in a different material. This is one of the scariest points of any project!

At the Madame Tussaud’s workshop, they mould their sculpts in plaster using multiple pieces. A lot of the times plaster solely is used for moulds which is due to the longevity of the material, without the loss of detail. However, I have chosen to do a jacket mould for my mould as its purpose does not need a lot of copies to be made, therefore I could achieve the same level of detail by using silicon supported by plaster. This would also ensure a very minimal seamline – the more parts to a mould, the more chances of low-quality seamlines. This was the correct choice, as I had a very insignificant seamline in my casts that had no effect on the overall quality.

Another conscious choice I made at this stage, was the thickness of the silicon. As I was keeping the silicon in one piece, I had to think how it would affect the wax when I was pulling it off the casts. Due to this, I chose to keep it under roughly 5mm thickness on average. Consequently, there would be less chance of the surface of the soft wax becoming deformed while peeling off the mould. However, this was a difficult line to toe, as I had to control the thickness to not become too thin, which could tear the silicon.

I would also like to address the problems I predicted in the earlier stages of this project regarding this stage:

  1. I went over schedule with the sculpting by a week. Whilst I stuck to my timeplan of the project, there were some major errors with the sculpt pointed out by Val Adamson late on that needed to be fixed to meet my benchmarks. Therefore, I made an analysed decision to extend the sculpting time by using one week spare which I left for myself at the end of the project, in order to reach a certain quality.
  2. I did not smudge the details when I laid out the first layer of silicon! Have a look at this timelapse to see me using the smallest brush I had to gently ensure coverage without force.
  3. The silicon cured successfully. I am glad I used a newer batch to ensure this.
  4. There were no air bubbles formed in silicon which means no surface details were compromised.
  5. Writing up a plan for this stage was an immense help in ensuring I did not forget crucial parts of the moulding process.

Have a look below for images of the moulding process. Overall, the moulding was successful, although it was strange to see Edith Kramer’s face all smashed after she was pulled out!

Sculpting Edith Kramer – Anatomy and Narrative

Sculpting time! I was super excited to start making for this project.

In preparation for sculpting Edith Kramer, I wanted to build an impression of her by watching any online documentaries and talks she was a part of, and reading her work. My perception of Edith is a soft-tempered woman with a lot of experience, and a strong personal and emotional understanding. She also has a quirky attitude towards her, which is particularly displayed in this documentary video.

In terms of reference images, I used digital photographs and screen grabs from videos. I scaled them to be the same size and printed out to take measurements from. I ensured these were all from different viewpoints, in order to create an environment as similar to sculpting from a life model as possible. This would aid the three-dimensionality of my sculpt.

An impactful issue I encountered at this point, was the quality of the images. This became far more important in the tertiary details stage of sculpting, when I was looking at wrinkles and skin texture. As I couldn’t see this on the images, I also used stock images of elderly individuals to compare and analyse the way skin presents itself at that age, and to also refer to anatomy features which were covered by clothing, such as the neck and back.

Elderly woman smiling.
Anatomy of the neck, back and shoulders.

An understanding of anatomy was significant to my sculpt. Consequently, I did not only use images of different features of the face and body to, I also worked quite closely with Edouard Lanteri‘s book Modelling and Sculpting the Human Figure (1965). He was a French sculptor and teacher at the Kensigton School of Art, who was quite influential to the New Sculpture movement through his Romantic style of sculpting. His book presents a thorough understanding of human anatomy, while guiding the reader through step-by-step process of building a human bust from underlying bones, muscles, tendons and fatty tissue base.

‘The book is a gold mine of technical information, the kind of reference work that should be a lifelong studio companion to the figure sculptor.’

Hale, N. C. (1965) pg. vi in Introduction to Modelling and Sculpting the Human Figure

One of the numerous tips I have gained from his teachings is the way that understanding the anatomy can help a student express the emotionality of the subject, such as in the sense of the lips. In his book he describes the anatomy of the muscles surrounding of and around the lips, and how they work together to make different facial expressions, such as smiling. Getting a more thorough understanding of anatomy helped me to build more narrative into my sculpt, of which importance I have established in an earlier blog post. As such, I sculpted a soft smile with a slight upturn of the corners of the mouth to represent her idiosyncratic characteristics which I have learned from watching numerous interviews and reading her work.

Anatomy of the face. Lanteri, E. (1965) Modelling and Sculpting the Human Figure pg. 14

Additionally, the beginning few chapters of Lanteri’s book emphasise practicing before commencing onto a more complicated sculpt, in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional forms. Thus, I began by sketching and painting Edith Kramer, after which I sculpted her facial features individually, before commencing onto a 3-day maquette sculpt. This allowed me to curiously explore both her physical features, and the material which I would portray them with. I believe these tests were fundamental to the final model, as they gave me freedom to practise and make mistakes, which helped me to aim for my benchmarks of quality I established in an earlier post.

The final sculpt, I chose to do in Plaxtin. While clay is traditionally used by the Madame Tussaud’s workshop, Plaxtin is wax based which means I did not have to keep it constantly dry, while still retaining the consistency of clay. There were some disadvantages to using Plaxtin instead of clay however – as the material didn’t dry out and harden over time, it stayed its base consistency of softness all the way through sculpting. Due to this, it was harder to sculpt in small details in the final stages, but I managed this by using cling film and a steady hand.

While Lanteri’s book was super helpful, I still struggled with getting the right anatomy in my sculpt though, particularly around the mouth and nose areas, and finally the ears. No matter what I did, and which references I looked at for help, there was something really wrong that I could not figure out. I got in touch with Val Adamson who runs a sculpting studio. I don’t think I would have ever noticed the things she pointed out! For instance, the issue with the mouth and nose area, was so obvious after she changed my perspective – I started the upper lip skin from the back of the nostrils, rather than the middle. Use the slider below to see the before and after differences.

Before (Left) and After (Right) talking with Val Adamson regarding the anatomy of my sculpt. One of the largest changes happened to the area connecting the mouth to the nose. As you can see, this whole area was brought out a few mm more to give more depth to the face. The top lip was also reduced in size to look more taught, as elderly lips often lose elasticity in the skin in this area which causes the top lip to become smaller. The eyebrows were also given more material to give the eye sockets more depth.

I believe making contact with a more experienced sculptor, was crucial to the final quality of my sculpt, as it influenced the way I approached my making process. This was a link to Edith Kramer’s teachings – a creative environment helped me to understand the restrictions of my perspective and how it is important to reach out. I think this understanding behind the making not only improved its realism and quality, but also encouraged me to deal with struggles and problem-solving in an approach based on curiosity.

Lastly, earlier in the project I predicted some problems that may have occurred at this stage (click here to read this post!). Let’s address these now:

  1. The armature was just the right size due to my experimentation with some quick sculpts before starting the final.
  2. The eyes are the right depth. Prioritising measurements throughout was crucial.
  3. By constantly referring to anatomy images, the teachings of Edouard Lanteri, and the advice of the wonderful Val Adamson, I was able to fix my mistakes. As I am an amateur at this, I would not have reached this quality without reaching out to others. Therefore, the facial features looked cohesive.
  4. This did occur once – I finished the details on the area joining the nose and the mouth while this area was still anatomically wrong. I fixed the anatomy after contacting Val, however this meant I had to redo the details.   

Overall, I had a lot of fun and frustration during this stage of the project. Most notably, I am glad I prepared by completing theoretical research behind all the materials I would use throughout the project, and the purpose, narrative and benchmarks of the model. It ensured a holistic understanding of the process, adding meaning to my making.

Predicting Problems and Finding Solutions

Studying modelmaking for the past couple of years, I have gained an understanding into some of the various processes that are involved in the practise of making. Approaching a new project, I think it would be helpful to use this existing knowledge alongside my continual research, to have an objective look at the work ahead and predict some of the issues I will encounter. Let’s find some solutions to these so that I feel more prepared!


The armature might be too big/too small which will affect the stability of the sculpt and affect the surface sculpt.I will note down measurements of my sculpt and then work backwards to ensure the armature is the right size.
The eyes might be put in the wrong depth.Make sure the replacement eyes I am using for the sculpt are 12mm (1/2 of average eye size) so that they fit into the head. Also make sure the armature underneath is small enough so that I can dig the eyes deep enough.
The facial features and anatomy might look disconnected from each other.Work in stages following the instructions of Edouard Lanteri to achieve correct anatomy. Keep taking measurements throughout. Work on facial features all together in stages, don’t finish one before the others.
Anatomically incorrect primary shapes that make the secondary and tertiary details look wrong.Follow the instructions of Edouard Lanteri. Use a mirror and take photographs throughout to change perspective. Measurements!


I might take too long on sculpting.Make a time plan for the entire project and stick to it! Encourage yourself to keep moving throughout the sculpt to discourage perfectionist tendencies.
When I put the first layer of silicon on I might smudge the details.Pour the silicon on rather than brush it on for the first thin layer. Have a bowl underneath to catch the silicon and reuse.
The silicon does not cure.Use a newer batch that you know has cured successfully in a previous test.
Air bubbles form in the silicon.Use a vac former to reduce bubbles and pour from a distance to let gravity pop any remaining bubbles.
I forget to put the Vaseline on surfaces during the plaster stage.Write up a plan for the moulding stage to take with you into the workshop and use as a reminder to do some important tasks.


I might make the wax the wrong tint.Get in touch with industry professionals to enquire whether they would advise me on some colour combinations they use. Do test pieces first.
The oil paint tint might not mix properly with the wax and drop to the bottom.Make sure to heat the oil paint with a little bit of wax first up to a high temperature. Mix in with the rest of the wax well. Do test pieces first.
Wax might not be stored correctly which can affect quality of wax.Store in a cool, dry place away from dust.
Parts of the cast might break off when taken out of the mould.Ensure the silicon layer is no thicker than 5/7mm max.
Health and Safety – Hot wax!!Complete a health and safety assessment before casting. Ensure area is prepared before use and that others know to be careful around it. Plan beforehand. Ensure appliances are turned off afterwards.


I make the layers of paint on the surface too thick.Practise painting on the test casts before the final one. Use a dry brush and wipe off excess paint before applying. Take your time and do not rush. Look in mirror and take pictures to keep changing perspectives and
I will use the wrong tones and colours.Ask industry professional for their advice before painting. Practise by oil painting portraits on flat surface first.
My painting might not look realistic as it might not follow anatomy.Research anatomy and how light interacts with it. Research the blood vessels etc underneath the skin to understand how they will impact the surface colour.


The hair strands I will use might be too thin and fragile, or too thick and synthetic.Test out a selection of materials before hair punching final. If too thin – try hair spraying and then styling. If too synthetic – try various methods of softening them. Ask MakeUp SFX students to advise on hair choices. Confirm choices with advice from industry professionals.
Hair punch holes might look too big and obvious, particularly around the hairline and facial hair.Outsource, make and test out different needle sizes before final hair punching. Understand how deep they need to go in to be stable. Experiment whether you can melt the wax after hair punching to increase quality.
Outsourced eyes might not look realistic enough/too doll-likeHave a list of producers you can contact for replacement eyes just in case.
The clothes I will make might not look realistic as the scale of the thread might be out of place.Research how to recreate clothes at smaller scale. Look at stop-motion animation dressing techniques. Choose a clothing piece from an existing photo – keep choice simple.

Of course, there are many problems and issues that I will encounter during this project – far too many that I could write! So to manage the sheer variety of problems and to decrease the damage they may have on my time management of the project, I will construct a thorough time plan for the duration of the project. This will ensure that I know exactly how much time I can spend on each mistake and issue, and hopefully keep me on track.

Fingers crossed!

History and Significance of Madame Tussauds Waxworks

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex as wax models made by the makers of Madame Tussauds

In my last blog post I discussed the properties of wax, and its inherent narrative. For the purposes of my project, I would like to invite you to see wax in the context of the Madame Tussaud museum, and the significance of its establishment and workmanship.

Nowadays, the company is established all around the world – one of their latest institutions opened recently in Delhi. However, the first Madame Tussauds’ exhibition was opened in 1835 after she toured the British Isles with her wax figurines in the early 1800s. Tussaud learned her technique of making realistic wax models through the tutoring of Philippe Curtius who at the time was making models for the medical field to aid anatomical study.

Crutious taught Tussaud the traditional way of making the sculpts from beginning to finish:

  1. Sculpt the bust in clay
  2. Make a plaster mould of the sculpt
  3. Pour the hot wax into the mould
  4. Paint the cured wax and dress figure, including wig making.
QUICK FACT! Today, the makers of Madame Tussaud workshop still use clay to sculpt their figures as it reflects the craftsmanship and pride in the history of the museum.

Madame Tussaud’s enterprise was more than just an exhibition though – her waxwork figures represented a version of the newspaper and the celebrity column, in the sense that she showed the people who was of importance at the time. In fact, in the documentary Madame Tussaud: A Legend in Wax, they describe how her waxworks at the time of the French Revolution, helped Parisians identify who was in charge – an important feature seeing as leaders kept getting executed!

In modern times, her legacy has no lesser impact. Edward Carey compares visiting Madame Tussauds’ exhibitions to a ‘museum of the human body’ and a lesson on physiognomy – as visitors we use it not to see what people achieved but to see what they looked like. We are excited about how we can stand next to a politician, measure our height against a Hollywood actress, or have a photograph taken right next to a fictional movie character brought to life. Carey calls it a fascination with the variety of people.

Not only that, it could also have a component of a fascination of connections with people, suggested by the attraction to touch the figures by visitors. Tussauds capitalised on this concept as it ‘has always enabled us to touch… royals, celebrities and criminals’ expands Patrick Barckham. He proposes that through this interaction with the waxwork model recreations of people we view as important social figures, we become engrossed in a ‘celebrity role were we [are] in control.’ These are ‘thoroughly, irreverently interactive’ exhibitions that inspire involvement purely by taking away the red tape and letting the visitor stand side by side of the models.

Visitors taking pictures with waxwork models at the Madame Tussauds museum in Hollywood.

Due to this history of waxworks brought into the UK by Madame Tussaud, and the continual significance they hold today, I wanted to follow this tradition in my work. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to make my model of Edith Kramer in wax rather than the similar, yet more modernised, silicon. There is deep tradition in waxwork models, and a proven intrinsic effect that they hold on us. We feel life when we look at a waxworks – perhaps drawn to the way the material inherently manipulates light that touches it, or relating to the narrative that has been build around these models in the Western culture by Tussauds.

I think it would be quite fitting then, to show the commemorative celebration of Edith Kramer’s life and work through a medium which builds a narrative of significance, creativity, and life.

Wax as a Material – What’s the fuss about?

Wax as a material is one of the most respected, and oldest materials from around globe. In fact, in her book Wax as art form, Thelma Newman (1966) describes the ‘story of wax’ to be so ‘colorful and at times so weird that it takes on the aspect of a fairytale.’ (p.12).

While in the UK we may recognise it from the candles on our shelves, and perhaps the Madame Tussaud’s museum, wax actually has a widely rich history. For instance, did you know that in the fifteenth century, wax was used by West Indians on their bodies to keep mosquitoes away (Newman, 1966, p. 13). Or have you ever heard of the ‘Batik’ tradition – a Malayan word for ‘wax writing’ that was practised by noblewoman in Indonesia around the thirteenth century after originating in Egypt. It is a way of ‘drawing a design on fabric with hot wax and then coloring the fabric with water-based dyes’ (Newman, 1966, p. 224) resulting in some beautiful pieces.

Batik in the making.

Want to find out a little bit more about wax? Check out some of the links below!

National Candle Organisation – If you are curious about the history of the everyday candle.

Encaustic Wax Painting – Tired of acrylic paints? Why not try painting with some tinted beeswax.

History of Batik – A deeper dive into the story of Batik.

Ukrainian Pysanka – Traditional Easter eggs from Eastern Europe decorated using wax

In terms of painting and sculpture specifically, wax was used in a multitude of ways. Beeswax for instance, the oldest known wax (Newman, 1966, p. 19) was used by Titian to soak the back of his canvases to protect them from damp. It was also quite widely used as a key component of the church candle.

The uses of wax through the centuries can be categorised into a few broad categories.

So why was wax so popular and used for so many purposes? This could be partly due to its qualities which rival that of the versatility of clay. This meant that the material was a tool for creativity, inspiring people to adjust it to their needs.

GOOD TIP! Dirt kills the consistency of wax (Newman, 1966, p. 106) which means it is important to consider the storage of the material between uses.

In addition to these properties, wax also has a notable relationship with the way it interacts with light. Newman describes wax as being ‘very good at transmitting light’ (1966, p. 108). Through this, the viewer is invited to see the sculpture in a more realistic manner. In fact, Newman claims that some artists ‘believed that it was possible for a sculptor to collect light from a given position and… render an equivalence to light yielding emotions akin to the feelings we have when we view a living figure’ (1966, p. 108). It is no surprise then, that wax has been used by some notable artists through history to create models for anatomical study and for aesthetically realistic purposes – through wax they could bring further life to their work.

The funeral effigy of Elizabeth of York, mother of King Henry VIII, 1503, Westminster Abbey

Therefore, I think I want to finish this post by highlighting that wax has a narrative to it. Rich history that embodies creativity of the individual is at the core of how wax has been used by cultures all around the world, and I think this relates quite well to the subject that I would like to recreate in wax form – Edith Kramer. As described in my previous post, Kramer emphasised the benefits of creativity on mental wellbeing, so I quite like the idea that I would be reflecting her practise in the actual material that I will use to make her. I also like how it relates a little to the reason why I chose this project as my closure to my University degree – my own experience of creativity and the way I have slowly explored its benefits in my personal practise.